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Textile Yarn size/substance

How to find out the yarn sizes and popular textile yarn sizes, techniques to identify substance of textile yarn

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Specifying the size of Textile Yarns

In order to be very precise and accurate, we must send yarn samples to a laboratory to do an analysis, but it involves time and costs money. Thus we want to tell the size of yarn quickly then the following method can be used and get the size in less than 5 minutes.

  • First keep some yarn in your possession of confirmed sizes, such as 7s,10s,16s, the 20s, 40s, 45s which are very popular size yarns of 100% cotton or T/C
  • Now pull out 1- pcs of yarn from the fabric that you wish to know the size of.
  • You twist the yarn in 4 steps as follows and compare the thickness visually and you can determine what size of yarn it is.
  1. Pull out 10 pcs of warp threads and 10 pcs of weft threads.
  2. Prepare 10 pcs of yarn that you already know what size they are.
  3. Hook up the yarn.
  4. Now twist the yarn and see that the yarn of unknown size is bigger or smaller than the 10 count yarn.

If you find the yarn from the fabric to be smaller than the confirmed size yarn, you use a smaller confirmed size yarn to compare. When the thicknesses the same then you can determine what size of yarn it is. The theory is it is very difficult to tell the size by looking at one piece of yarn but one can do so by looking at 20 pieces together in comparison with another 20 pieces that you know what size they are.

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With respect to yarn sizes, following chart will show what yarn spinners usually make in 100% cotton, TC, and CVC:

Most popular sizes
(usually available from stock)
Less Popular Sizes
(sometimes available from stock)
8s 8s
10s 10s
14s 14s
16s 16s
20s 20s
21s 21s
24s 24s
30s 30s
32s 32s
60s 60s

If you want to develop a new fabric, you should not resort to yarn sizes that are not popular (unpopular sizes of yarn if obtainable are usually more expensive). If you need a special size yarn and try to order it from the spinner, he may need 100000 pounds or more as a minimum to set up the production for you.

The techniques to identify the substance of textile yarn:

To determine what substance is of the yarn that you are looking at sometimes is difficult. It requires good knowledge and experience to make a good judgment. If you want to be very accurate you have to send it to a lab for a scientific analysis. However, there are some techniques to get the answer quickly. These are the methods which you can use to analyze the yarn ourselves without the help of any equipment.

Yarn type Description
Cotton When you untwist the yarn and pull out the staples from it, you will see that all the staples are less than 2”. When you burn it, it burns to the grayish-white ash-like residue of burning paper.
Silk When you untwist, unravel the yarn and pull out the fibers from it you will see the fibers are too much longer than 2”. They are very fine and soft. When you burn it, it turns to dark grey hard ash (like a bubble). You can crush it by hand into dust.
Ramie When you untwist, unravel the yarn and pull out the fibers from it you will see that the fibers are much longer than 2”.They are thick and stiff, not too pliable. When you burn it, it burns to grayish white as similar to cotton.
Wool When you untwist, unravel the yarn and pull out the fibers from it you will see the fibers are longer than 2” and they are not very straight and not very fine and pliable. You would suspect either it is wool or synthetic. When you burn it, it gives you a very strong smell like burning human hair. During the process of burning it does not melt.
Synthetic Unless you go for a sophisticated analysis by a laboratory, you cannot tell what kind of synthetic fiber it is other than separating rayon from other synthetic materials.
Polyester, Nylon, acrylic These are from petroleum, therefore when we untwist, unravel the yarn and pull out the fiber from it you will see that the fiber length is very long and even in thickness. When you burn it, it melts first. When it catches fire the smoke is black.
Rayon Rayon is made of pulp which comes from mashed wood and that is why it burns like paper or cotton. Polyester, nylon, acrylic etc are sided products of petroleum and they burn like plastic or petroleum. It if is rayon, then when you untwist, unravel the yarn and pull you will see that the fiber length is very long, very soft and even in thickness. When you burn it, it burns like paper or cotton to grayish-white ash. In the process of burning, you do not see anything melting.

The above is the guideline to find out approximately what substance it is. It needs good experience and skill to do it. If you practice often you can tell what it is without much difficulty. If you need to know the percentage of the blended yarn, you have to use a laboratory to do an analysis. If you only wish to know what they are, you can use the above methods.

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